I haven’t done random thoughts posts in awhile so here goes…

For some reason the pictures we have right now beg for waiting rather than publishing so I am not and have not done a picture blog for the past few days. I will be sharing pictures again, just waiting for critical mass.

Sometimes the pictures inspire something that isn’t quite there yet (not enough pictures) so for now we will wait.

So today Random thoughts:

  • The boys and I on the walk were discussing the new LOTR films. I actually posted my full thoughts on the films including the hobbit on my other blog. First off let me say that 16 year olds are a blast to walk with. They have ideas and concepts now, understand a little of the world ahead of them and they both read like crazy. Its fun to listen to how they think through things. The discussion on the LOTR and Hobbit films was a blast.
  • I can’t tell you, on our walks, how many cars have cut us off as we prepared to cross the street. First off, DC and Maryland both have pedestrian laws that say we are always right. Plus if we are in the crosswalk they have to stop, period. Yet they cut us off nearly once a week. The driver looks back at us with an apologetic look but its bad. I wish someone could convince DC area drivers that driving a car means you can injure someone.
  • I am loving the smart car so far. It doesn’t do as well in wind as the Mini-Coopers do, but to date (2 full weeks) I am averaging 44 miles to the gallon. THa tis a 20 mile per gallon improvement over the Minis or basically almost a 50% reduction in fuel charges. Add to that gas prices at recent lows and I am saving nearly 70% now over what I was spending in the summer for traveling. Plus I was hating where I was going in July. So it’s a good thing.
  • My favorite talk radio show is Mike and Mike in the morning. What do we need to do to get ESPN to make them an all day everyday show? I love the way the show is, the humor and the fun way they discuss both sides of many sports issues.
  • Installed a new router, should have been bang-bang and instead frankly it has been a pain ever since. I am at 60% functionality. ARRRGGGHH.
  • There is no I in team. But there is an I on the teams I am on.
  • I posted a why are meetings hard post on Linkedin. (link is here).
  • I find it hard to understand why specialization sometimes produces broad expertise. You focus on one thing and suddenly everything around that one thing is in your core expertise. Seriously? Specialization means you are good at the one thing. Everything around that one thing is your IMHO. You aren’t an expert. Geez. I can’t say how much that drives me crazy.
  • To talk you have to listen. To listen you have to hear.
  • Driving isn’t a blood sport.
  • What did I do with all these random thoughts before I had a blog to post them on? Or was I saving them waiting for a blog so I could get them all out and at some point there won’t be any more in my head? I wonder.

Like I said picture blogs will return after a brief Hiatus. The family history project is marching on. 6600 pictures scanned. 10870 slides scanned. With the one’s we haven’t started on and the ones we still have coming I suspect we have 15000 scans to go. So we are well past 1/2 way. The minions groan when I tell them there are more pictures coming.

But someday, when they want to remember their childhoods or moments that were long forgotten they will have the images to do so. Perhaps I should write a book called the 10 scans of when you were little.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

The voices we hear that are not there…

Closing in the

voices sound in the distance

like Champaign glasses clinking


as if a connection

and yet dust is all we hear.

Does the dust change anything in

the end?

floating like sparking diamonds

in the fresh sunlight

lifting into the air

as though able to fly

settle back not where they were but

in the end a new place

grimy and covered

each one unique

but no one ever looks

it is in that we find the voices.

Empty and hollow we hear them

like Champaign glasses they clink and chime

far away

more than far away

not infinite but

impossible to bridge

from the dust to the voices

a gap

a chasm.

We trudge off into the

dust filled sunlight


What could have been?


Sandler Boggs

Fear of the moment gone in a flash…

Whispers quiet

there on the edges by the liner

can you see it?

It dares not approach


teeth bared and hackles raised

it stays.

Is that fear we feel?

Or disconnection?

Standing there steadfast in our resolve

knowing we are there

we are in the moment

yet knowing


the fear

between us a tiny tree

sprung to life three springs ago

grasping for the sky

to the other side an empty bucket

and then

the menace

the red eyes

the bared teeth

is that fear we feel?

the moment slipping away

as the squirrel darts up a tree.


Sandler Boggs

And there he goes, right into that disgusting lake…

My daughter was able to catch the pictures of me falling into the pond when we lived in Indiana (nice…maybe). She reminded me of my falling into the IMG_3463disgusting pond water many times. So I thought I would put this up for her entertainment.

When we got the kayak I thought it would be fun to roll around the pond to test it out. Sadly I ended up in the disgusting water. Which by the way not only smelled but of course was populated by snakes that love to bite humans (brown water snake) and large alligator turtles.

I went down in the shallow end near our house. It was filled with construction dirt from the subdivision that was about a 1/2 mile away and had just finished the last house. The dirt sadly had moved along the creek into our pond so we had a sand bar at our end of the pond.

I hit the sandbar with the front of the kayak and went over like a log.


This picture is from Andersen Mission control right before we launched the rocket. It actually flew better than the model predicted or the 8 year layoff from the last time I launched to this launch was worse than I thought.  I suspect the latter but you can never be sure.

We ended up clearing the entire field and passed over the boys Elementary school with our first launch. It took us nearly an hour to find the rocket.

Mostly I think he wind was blowing harder than we originally thought. I had input a 5 mile per hour wind into the calculator and in the end I think the wind was closer to 10 mph. That difference made the landing calculations off by roughly 25%. The wind mostly affecting a rocket after the parachute deploys. Still it was a blast. Our first launch as a family. For me it was my 100th or so launch including school teacher launches and personal launches.


Here is a great picture of Nick. He is the mechanical take things apart kid. He loves trying to figure out how things work. He struggles sometimes with the why people do things part but he loves the simple reality of putting things together. Its fun to watch him figure stuff out.

This picture was taken about 10 years ago and is from the back porch of my parents old house in Bloomington Indiana. Noting the clothes I suspect this is a late spring/early summer event that was held at the house. Mom and dad hosted the major family events at their house. In the beginning we lived in Cincinnati (about 2.5 hours away) so we were always the late ones to events. Later when we moved to Greenwood it was less to travel but we were still always the late ones to family events. I guess late doesn’t always mean distance was involved.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Cheap Sun Glasses + kids with a bad sense of humor = fun pictures :-)

unsorted291Not sure why this picture caught my eye but it is pretty cool. During the scanning project of my dad’s slides I posted a picture of my sisters and I on the steps of the Royal Palace in Bangkok Thailand all wearing our cool sunglasses. Here are the three kids all wearing their sun glasses and of course giving the world the thumbs up sign.

Pretty cool kids.

The picture was taken with the boys and Jakki in the kitchen of our house in Greenwood Indiana. The wooden window shelf behind the kids is the dead give away as to the location.

I suspect this is a posed picture rather than a captured spontaneous moment. It would have been much harder to catch them doing this by happenstance.


Similar picture but in this one Jakki is posing with two rabbits. I don’t know where the boys went from the other picture of which was first – Jakki and the Rabbits or Jakki and the boys in cool sun glasses.

If Jakki ever decides to start a rock band she will have to call it Jakki and the Rabbits. That is the coolest rock band name ever.

Probably (again) a posed rather than spontaneous picture. Mostly because the boys never stood still long enough to take a picture when they were in motion.

Twins can be perpetual motion machines.


This one is ironic more than anything. A picture taken of Nick standing in front of the couch. Fran and Luke were lying on the couch. They are right under a picture of Jakki and Fran lying on that same couch. I guess in the end they were in the irony stage of development.

My original family history project was printing all the pictures I could and hanging them around the house. We don’t do that as much now as we did then. We have maybe 100 pictures on the wall. But for a time I would print them, rotate the pictures and hang them on the wall in the living room.

Those were the days I guess.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Tell us of the great journeys we took when we were little, dad.


This is one of my favorite pictures of Nick when he was little. On the beach at Xcaret (Cancun Mexico). Covered in sand standing inside the yellow. Behind him the wonderful beach at Xcaret. A place you can’t have sun screen or anything unnatural on you, it is q place for the permanent residents not the visiting humans.

I love this pictures. It has been framed and hanging on our wall for years. (well 10 years). I feel like “Puff the Magic Dragon” sometimes because the little boys in the pictures I’ve been sharing aren’t little anymore. Lukas is about an inch shorter than I am and Nick is about 1.5 to 2 inches shorter than me. I was taller than my dad when I was 17, and we are coming up on that milestone in about a month for the boys.

As parents you arm your children with the intelligence to face the world, the compassion to care about those around them and the love and understanding that other people and they will make mistakes. That is a parents job. Raising children is hard work. But it is also a wonder and joy that fills your heart with moments you will never forget.

Plus you get to hang out and watch some pretty cool people grow up.



The same picture I shared recently of Jakki on the Mayan temple stairs. The first one shows Jakki and Nick perched on the stairs ready for adventure.

The second picture shows poor Luke conked out.

We ran that day at Xcaret. We wandered around the sand and wondered at the animals and the buildings. We sat by the ocean and just had a blast.

And of course we zonked when we needed to.

Our family vacations often involve going to the ocean. That is a big East Coast thing – you go to the beach when you have time off. I guess even though we grew up in the Midwest we were destined to be East coasters.

Bound for the ocean on vacation. Honking our horns and cutting other drivers off. Because our vacation (or work) is the most important vacation or work on the road. (That last bit may be harsh but sometimes it feels like drivers are too aggressive in the DC area).


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Is he still suspended in mid-air? Andersen’s interpretation of Schrödinger’s cat experiment…

Side note between posting my blog yesterday am (around 10 am I run late on the weekends) and this mornings post we had 10 inches of snow. The boys, Jakki, the dogs and I all went for a walk in the snow yesterday afternoon.


We had the incredible opportunity to spend an afternoon at Xcarate. What a wonderful place. Here is Jakki perched on the steps of an actual Mayan temple. I was a fantastic about the Mayan and Aztec cultures from a very early age. I made my grandparents take us to Azetlan a place in Wisconsin where they have discovered Aztec tools and materials meaning that the Aztecs could have had a much larger empire than originally projected.

The Mayan’s predate the Aztecs and frankly based on their calendar I loved their civilization. The thing that drew me in first was the fact that the world ended on my birthday. 12-21-2012. The world didn’t end that day in fact it was a fairly nice day in Maryland – no snow. My world came to a crashing halt the next day (12-22) when I came down with an inner ear infection. Maybe what the Mayan’s were projecting was the end of my non-ear infection days.

What an amazing culture building these amazing buildings and then for all intents and purposes stopping. There are still people that can draw their genetic heritage back to the Mayans but for all intents and purposes their culture ended long before the Spanish set foot on the new world.

There is another version of this picture with Jakki and Nick. I like this one because it show the entire temple and where Jakki was in relation, the one of her and Nick is more of a close up.


As you can see from this picture taken from Willowcove Cincinnati Ohio (we didn’t have a living room or a dining room in the house we had a couch and a massive toy room) even back then they loved playing any game with Jakki. They still do to this day. They delight in hanging out with their big sister.

When they started playing video games they really wanted initially to beat me. Then the most important goal of video games was to beat Jakki. They became quite adept in the end at taking me out. Jakki however, gamer girl!, can in many games still kick their buts. She has wisely learned to stay away from the boys when it comes to first person shooters for the most part. They tend towards quick and effective at those games. But the simple joy they have found with their big sister is amazing. Of course she puts in the time and effort to be a part of their lives so you get what you sow as my father always used to say.


“Look ma no hands.” Finally because it is cold and I am so tired of snow, we will end today with a picture of the summer. This is taken from the terraced yard area towards the pool and beyond the pool the pond at hour house in Indiana.

Barb found those swim suits for the boys early on. They kept their heads up right so that when they went in the water they didn’t have to struggle. They quickly using those suits gained confidence and we later had a person giving lessons in our pool for them. They are pretty good swimmers.

Mid-jump Nick is neither on the diving board or in the water. I suspect if he were a cat we would have included a box in this picture so that we would never know – does he stay in mid-air or land in the water?


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

In my heart they will always be Giants!

Sometimes I should probably look at pictures carefully when I am taking them. This one has Fran sticking her tongue out at me. Fran joined our family in the unsorted998summer of 2001. She was such a tiny puppy (the last puppy we will ever have).

She took charge of Jakki from the get go.

My favorite Fran story is walking past Jakki’s room one day. Fran was really excited that I was there. She kept running to me and then running to the bedroom. I finally followed her into the bedroom. She immediately turned states evidence against her girl sharing all the food stashes in Jakki’s room. I suspect she expected a large finders fee for revealing the hidden food.

She would do that many times over the years. I thought it was a function of Jakki’s room in Greenwood. But Fran did that when we lived in Gaithersburg and Germantown. Each time proudly pointing out where her girl had hidden food (which remains against house rules). I miss Fran. She left us last year. she will always be a giant Labrador in my heart.


What a great picture of my dad sitting on his deck. He loved the Lorax (on his shirt). It was one of the movies that he gave all his grandchildren and showed people in his lab at Science Ed all the time. It was interesting for me because dad taught me to read by using the Cat in the Hat. But his favorite of all time was the Lorax.

He loved that back yard – his gardens were there. He had apple trees, asparagus, potatoes and the greatest tomatoes on earth.

Dad was an outdoors guy. His whole life he loved being outdoors.

Another funny dad and mom story. The deck dad is sitting on grew every year they lived in the house (ok it didn’t but it sure felt like it).


To the right of the picture is Jakki and I. Lynne is in the background and Matt is right in front of my grandfather. Raymond Johnston.  Grandpa and I took walks. When we were in the same place we would go out and walk around talking for hours. When they lived at the lake I spent many summer months there. He and I would take off early in the morning and go fishing. Or we would pack up the golf clubs and play a round of golf. The time we had was special.

I find myself missing him and missing dad sometimes. A wistful sad memory that is also happy. They were both great influences in my life and the life of my children. Jakki has fond memories of Grandpa Ray. The boys and Jakki remember grandpa. Its why they are part of the family history project. They want to remember their grandfather and great-grandfather as happy wonderful loving people.

They will always be giants in my heart.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Anchors of the past, wandering around images of yesterday as if they were still today.

The pond in front of our house on Eagle Trace in Greenwood Indiana. When I was a little kid my grandparents lived on Lake Ripley I love being on, around or unsorted999in the water whenever possible. Although I can honestly say in the 12 years we live don this lake, I didn’t go into this lake (all right I went into the water one time when the Kayak I was paddling around the lake and I disagreed about what right meant).

There were alligator snapping turtles in the pond. They were pretty big. There were frogs and the always warm and friendly common American Water Snake. There were also bass and other nice fish in the pond that was stocked by the neighbors.

I’ve shared pictures of the beaver and family that moved into the lake for awhile. There were also Geese that frequented the pond. It was a wonderful wildlife experience much as the years watching out my Grandmother’s bay window on Lake Ripley were. Although usually when we arrived at Lake Ripley I had the captains hat on and was fishing.


There is a very rare picture of all four kids snuggled on the couch. Rare because Becca left to live with her dad after our first year in Indiana. The boys don’t remember her being around and now she is like a distant 2nd Cousin to them. Someone they see on occasion but aren’t close with.

Its really kind of sad so I am done with that topic.

Its funny how it isn’t in the end a house that dominates the life you have. It is in effect the roof that keeps you safe and the furnace that keeps you warm (it is currently 0 degrees outside and the furnace is working double time). It never was the house but the family inside the house that made it home. In moving to Maryland we have the same warm place to be that we did in Indiana. The only difference between the two frankly is the traffic to get to the one in Maryland.


Ending with a different non-panoramic picture of my Grandmother Andersen. Grandma is sitting in the middle of the picture. To her left is my dad’s little sister my Aunt Patty. Aunt Patty was a school teacher in the Chicago are for many years – a very cool person to boot. Behind grandma Andersen is my mother. To the right of my Grandmother is her son and my father. What a wonderful picture.

We spent the afternoon with her. It seems now a million years ago (and certainly Racine Wisconsin is a long way away and frankly frozen solid right now). I have said it before but I will never forget Nick giving Grandma Andersen a kiss as we were leaving. He never gives kisses to anyone. Ever. But that day he did. Luke and Jakki both are willing to give someone a peck on the cheek but it was Nick that did that day. As if he at 3 or 4 knew that there was a greater connection at work than simply somebody in a wheel chair. We will never know.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Just another shameless review–connected instruments

I am not a musician but I do love playing music and playing with sounds. I have had a home MIDI set-up since back in the days when we only had a single Macintosh in the house. Two years ago I backed two very interesting projects on Indiegogo that have now arrived and have settled into my musical routine. I thought I would review both of them together (although I did review one of them earlier).

The two products are Jamstik and C24. Both connect to your android or iOS tablet and allow you tp play music as if actually sitting with a full guitar or piano.

c24 Keyboard and iPad Cover

What I really like c24

  • Nice keyboard overall.
  • Becomes a great protective cover for you iPad
  • Connection occurs in the software so it is easy to set-up – just charge turn on and launch the c24 application
  • The software is very nice. Discounting li-ion charging time the amount of time from opening box to playing a song was about 3 minutes
  • Once connected launched Garageband right in the c24 application!
  • You can use the iPad’s speakers or external speakers as well.

What I don’t like c24

  • Keys are tightly put together
  • keys feel a little fragile
  • It doesn’t hold the iPad as tightly in place so if the keyboard moves left or right the iPad and fall over.

Jamstik Portable Guitar

What I really like Jamstik

  • The device has heft, it feels natural to hold.
  • Software is awesome (two applications) first is for learning to play guitar the other is for playing guitar
  • easy to charge
  • time (other than charging) to get operational out of the box was about 4 minutes.
  • You can use the external speakers or the iPad’s speakers as well
  • You can use Jamstik in Garageband

What I don’t like Jamstik

  • I get that Bluetooth isn’t as good for musical fidelity but wi-fi can be a pain to set-up if your device doesn’t also have a cellular data connection. Once I figured that out everything worked perfectly.

Disclaimer – I love music. I’ve written a few songs over the years and I can carry a tune while singing. I cannot play the instruments at any level of quality consistently. I tinker and noodle and just love the sounds I can create.

Overall both of these are great if you have a tablet and love to tinker with music. Garageband on the iPad allows you to record your creation and both devices easily can be found in Garageband. They are also cheaper than buying a full guitar or a full electronic keyboard and the Jamstik has an excellent built in how to play guitar application. The c24 works with a couple of piano training programs will add to the review eventually when I have more time to see if there are limits but so far it works well with the various applications I already have.

If you are looking for a keyboard or guitar fret to noodle with while traveling or at home these two are great additions!


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow!